DC mayor, police chief to testify before House committee on crime increase
WASHINGTON - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is set to testify on Capitol Hill next month about the rise in crime in the city.
The mayor sent a letter to the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee Wednesday confirming her appearance. She's expected to sit at the witness table as the committee continues its hearings on crime, safety, and city management.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee III and City Administrator Kevin Donahue will join her during the hearing.
UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks in the main hall of Union Station during an event to kick off the Jazz in Bloom concerts series and announce initiatives to bring more people downtown, on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. (Tom Willi
Last week, the head of the D.C. Police Union Greggory Pemberton testified before the committee about the city's crime and policing. He told the representatives that several of the D.C. City Council's actions have led to an exodus of officers and an increase in violent crime.
"There are numerous actions by the D.C. council, including their rhetoric, that has led to a mass defection of officers and an exponential increase in violent crime." said D.C. Police Union’s Greg Pemberton.
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember Charles Allen, among others were grilled by the committee over policies they said were too soft on criminals and anti-police during a crime wave.
Mendelson maintained that overall crime numbers were down. But he acknowledged that a spike in homicides and carjackings had fueled public anxiety over safety issues.
"People should feel safe, and it is a problem that many residents of the district don’t," he said.
WASHINGTON, US - MARCH 29: Phil Mendelson, Chairman, D.C. testifies before the U.S. House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 29, 2023. (Michael A. McCoy/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
"D.C. clearly has a crime crisis," said Comer, the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. "Our nation’s capital has deteriorated and declined. D.C. officials have not carried out their responsibility to serve the citizens."
Bowser vetoed the council's overhaul of the city's criminal code in January, saying at the time that the bill did not make residents in the District safer.
In her letter to the council, the mayor suggested that the D.C. Council "amend this bill to remove provisions for which there remains deep divisions within the criminal justice community. The Council should then proceed with passing a bill that reflects the provisions for which there is consensus agreement. These provisions, which represent approximately 95% of the bill, would still represent a significant and much-needed update to our criminal code."
The council voted to override the mayor's veto. And in early March, Congress voted in favor of a disapproval resolution that would overturn the criminal code revisions. Mendelson and the council decided to withdraw the measure before President Biden signed into law legislation nullifying the recent overhaul.
Read Mayor Bowser's letter to the House Oversight and Reform Committee below: